Beef massaman curry

Beef massaman curry

Ben's Meat Bible
Benito Martin


Quantity Ingredient
600g blade steak or gravy beef, cut into 4 cm dice
1.6 litres coconut milk
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 tablespoon palm sugar or soft brown sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
300g potatoes or sweet potatoes, cut into 4 cm dice
10 cocktail white onions
steamed rice, to serve
roasted peanuts, to garnish
coriander leaves, to garnish
lime wedges, to garnish (optional)

Curry paste

Quantity Ingredient
1 red onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, crushed
1 lemongrass stalk, finely sliced, white part only
3cm piece galangal, peeled and sliced
8 coriander roots, scraped
5 dried long red chillies, seeds removed, soaked in a bowl of water

Spice mix

Quantity Ingredient
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 cardamom pod
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves
1 star anise
1 tablespoon sea salt


  1. Bring the beef and the coconut milk to the boil in a large saucepan. Turn the heat down and simmer for 1½ hours, or until the beef is soft and falling apart.
  2. Meanwhile, make the curry paste. Dry-fry the onion, garlic, lemongrass, galangal and coriander roots for 5 minutes in a wok or large frying pan. Stir continuously to stop any of the ingredients catching. Drain the chillies and add them to the pan, along with a splash of water. Cover and allow to cook for 2 minutes, or until the onion is soft, then remove from the heat and cool slightly. Transfer to a blender or food processor and blend to form a smooth paste. Set aside 3 tablespoons of paste and transfer the remainder to an airtight container and store in the freezer for another time.
  3. To make the spice mix, preheat the oven to 150°C. Arrange all the spices on a baking tray and roast for 10 minutes, or until the spices are fragrant. Allow to cool briefly, then grind in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, in batches, until you have a fine powder.
  4. Heat the peanut oil in a large, deep frying pan over medium–high heat and fry the spice mix and the curry paste for 5 minutes, until fragrant. Stir continuously with a wooden spoon to prevent the paste from burning as it begins to change colour. Add the palm sugar and continue to cook for 1–2 more minutes, then add the fish sauce and the cooked beef, along with its coconut milk broth. Stir well to combine and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium, add the potatoes and onions, and cook for a further 20–30 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked.
  5. Taste the curry and adjust the seasoning, if required, with more sugar and fish sauce to balance the flavours.
  6. Serve with steamed rice, top with the roasted peanuts and coriander leaves, and accompany with lime wedges, if desired.
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